As some may have read, I've been struggling with getting paid by an agency for work I took in January and February. I finally did get my $772.00!
Here's what I did right in this situation:
1. Kept good documentation, copies of e-mails, copies of my invoices.
2. Kept after them. At first it was friendly reminders, then every time they called me for a job, I reminded them they owed me money. Then when the phone calls stopped, we started an e-mail and phone call blitz between my husband and I for three or four days. He called them 3 times per day for a few days.
3. Did not feed into excuses. When enough is enough, just demand payment and don't let them put it off any longer.
4. Threatened to call the clients directly (it's awful having to resort to this, but it does work)
5. Threaten Better Business Bureau complaint and small claims lawsuit.
6. Threaten to go to their office in person and sit and wait for the check.
What I did wrong:
1. I didn't get on it fast enough. The phone call blitz should have started at 60 days past due, not 90.
2. I played into the put-offs and excuses at first. She would say in two days she will Fed Ex a check, I would say okay, two more days, then two days would pass and no check. Once she made a promise, I should have insisted she stick to it instead of letting her put it off for days on end. I think we played this game 3 times until we insisted she stick to her promise of this last Friday and would accept no other excuses or delays.
3. Didn't add late fees. With all the aggravation, I should have done this. I felt uncomfortable depositing the check into my bank account so I went directly to their bank to cash it and the bank charged me $5. The nerve!
After looking up this firm in circuit court records, I learned that they have many judgments against them for thousands of dollars from other court reporters who sued for payment and undoubtedly went through much more hassle than I did. All of them were awarded summary judgments, it looks like. I also found out that both owners' homes are in foreclosure during same search so I feel very blessed that I got paid before they filed bankruptcy, which looks like it possibly may be coming down the road.
On a wonderful turn of events, I used this money over the weekend to till a new, expanded garden and buy some more veggies and I hope to have many extras to give to the food pantry this year. Plus, the gardening is my serenity and sanity so hopefully this will help turn aggravation into blessings and peacefulness.